In the absence of adequate federal enforcement a Texas border security initiative heavily criticized by Democrats and the media has apprehended hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants—including thousands of criminals—and seized millions of lethal doses of fentanyl. Known as Operation Lone Star, the project was launched by Governor Greg Abbott in March 2021 as the illegal immigration crisis gripped his border state. Essentially the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Texas National Guard are picking up the slack for the federal government, which is charged with protecting the famously porous southern border.
Texas had to take charge to combat the smuggling of people and drugs, the governor’s office wrote in the 2021 press release announcing Operation Lone Star, which integrates DPS with the Texas National Guard and deploys air, ground, marine and tactical border security assets to high threat areas to prevent Mexican cartels and other criminal elements from smuggling drugs and humans into the state. “The crisis at our southern border continues to escalate because of Biden Administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration,” Abbott said at the time. The governor’s office assures that the operation continues to fill the “dangerous gaps left by the Biden Administration’s refusal to secure the border.” Every arrested individual and every ounce of drugs seized by Operation Lone Star would have otherwise made their way into communities across the nation due to the president’s open border policies, Texas officials point out.
The most recent figures, released just days ago, show that Operation Lone Star is succeeding despite detractors on the left. Since the multi-agency effort was launched more than 348,000 illegal immigrants have been apprehended and over 24,000 criminals have been arrested. DPS has also seized a startling number of drugs, over 361 million lethal doses of fentanyl. “Texas has also bused more than 9,100 migrants to our nation’s capital since April, over 5,200 migrants to New York City since August 5, more than 1,500 migrants to Chicago since August 31, and more than 890 migrants to Philadelphia since November 15,” the state announcement reveals. The document offers specific Operation Lone Star cases that prevented the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and humans into Texas.
The crisis along the southwest border is unprecedented and has created a tremendous threat to national security. The latest government stats show a drop in monthly illegal immigrant crossings that carries little weight since it is a decrease from the record-highs that have prevailed during the Biden administration. The stats show that U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 128,000 illegal immigrants in January 2023 and federal agents at crossing ports prevented an additional 28,000 migrants from entering the country. Considering illegal immigration records have been shattered under Biden, the latest monthly figure is not bad. In his first year as president, federal agents apprehended 1,659,206 illegal immigrants at the southwest border, breaking the previous high of 1,643,679 in 2000. To put things in perspective, during Donald Trump’s last year as president federal agents arrested 400,651 illegal aliens along the Mexican border.
But as the Biden presidency progresses, the crisis worsens. Fiscal year 2022 also started with a bang, a 137% increase in the first quarter over the final quarter of 2021. By the end of 2022, the Border Patrol arrested a record-breaking 2.4 million migrants, up from an already shocking high of 1.7 million in 2021. Among the apprehended were hundreds of gang members—mostly from the famously violent Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13)—and dozens of people on the national terrorist watchlist. Federal agents also confiscated thousands of pounds of drugs, mainly methamphetamine. The unprecedented numbers depict a chaotic Mexican border region rife with lawlessness that has inevitably seeped north into many parts of the United States. At least Texans have Operation Lone Star to help compensate for the federal government’s ongoing failures.